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Klinsmann talks sense of urgency, Bradley, Edu after latest USMNT roster reveal


Photo by John Todd/


For the U.S. Men’s National Team, now is crunch time.

Following Wednesday’s roster announcement for next week’s friendly vs. Mexico, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann talked about the importance of his final camp before World Cup preparations get underway in May in a video released by U.S. Soccer.

Klinsmann said that currently there is a very businesslike attitude from the players hoping to play in Brazil this summer, and added that there needs to be given how deep into the World Cup cycle the team is.

“Everybody gets a feel that the clock is ticking and everybody knows now that, ‘I need to be in pole position and here and I need to impress in those games with my club,’ and the only way you can impress is if you play from the beginning on,” said Klinsmann. “I think they get a sense of urgency now and they know that we’re just kind of a couple of weeks away from going into preparation and I think with whoever you communicate, no matter if it’s a text message or on the phone line, you hear that form the players as well that they get an understanding that now they’ve got to step it up.”

Klinsmann also went into detail in the standing of two of the players called into this 22-man camp. First, he touched on midfielder Michael Bradley, who has gotten off to a solid start in the MLS season with Toronto FC after making a surprise transfer from AS Roma back in January.

Bradley has commanded the midfield for a TFC side that is now 2-0 for the first time in franchise history, and his play in the club’s two matches has been encouraging for Klinsmann.

“Now having MLS back in the picture and picking up its rhythm, it’s just great to see Michael Bradley being there on the field and showing everybody how good of a player he is,” said Klinsmann. “Obviously, he had to be stitched up a little bit after that clash (vs. D.C. United’s Davy Arnaud), but he had a good performance and it’s very, very important to us that our leaders in our group are really getting a rhythm and getting their games in.

“Seeing now Michael back on the field and the other ones as well is really, really important and we take it from there.”

The other player the U.S. boss went into specifics about was midfielder Maurice Edu, who has not been called up by Klinsmann in more than a year. Edu last played for the Americans in a 0-0 draw on the road vs. Mexico in World Cup qualifying in March 2013, but had not been summoned by Klinsmann in the camps that followed because of his lack of playing time with Stoke City.

Having moved away from that unfavorable situation by joining the Philadelphia Union on loan this past winter, Edu is now seeing consistent minutes in MLS and has performed well enough in the early weeks of the season that Klinsmann wants to take another gander at the veteran before narrowing down the U.S. roster.

“We’re looking for Mo that he gives us that sense of urgency,” said Klinsmann. “Actually that decision coming on loan back to MLS just to now get playing, just to jump in the Union team and be a leader right away and help them get off the right foot in MLS shows you that he understands that the timing has to be there now and that he has to play, He could’ve sat there on the bench at Stoke and maybe not playing much, then there’s no chance for him to get on the World Cup roster.

“He understood it, he took the consequences, he took the decision to come back and now he’s picking it up. We’re looking forward to having Mo back with us because once he is in a rhythm, once he is fit, and once he is really kind of zoomed in and knows what to do then he’s a very good player.”

This batch of U.S. players is littered with talent, but most of it comes from MLS and Liga MX as Klinsmann could not call his European-based regulars due to the April 2 match in Phoenix, Ariz. not falling on an official international date.

Still, Klinsmann wants to see these players make one last statement in the latest chapter in the El Tri rivalry before heading back to their clubs ahead of May’s pre-World Cup camp.

“What we expect is that they really show a very, very strong performance against a Mexican team now that is basically coming back on track,” said Klinsmann. “They went the difficult route with New Zealand to qualify as the fourth-placed team in CONCACAF and they got their lesson in 2013, very harsh lessons that they had, many coaching changes. Now, they want to kind of get back on track, which they’re doing, and nothing better than doing that against their main rival, the United States, so we really have to be on our toes.

“We have to be very, very focused and alert and maybe similar to CONCACAF Champions League, we don’t have that many games in our players that the Mexicans have that start their championship already at the end of January, so that might be a little advantage for them. But we’ll make sure that everybody is on board and (the U.S players) obviously have a point to prove because we’re just a couple of weeks away from deciding on the 23 guys that go to Brazil.”


  1. LOL, did anyone other than me pick up something really humorous on this thread? We have 100 comments (responses) and one of the hundred was made by a someone calling themself “Amru” He hade a single comment and I don’t remember seeing that name before.

    Here is what made me lol. His comment began: (name of a certain frequent commenter) You’re one of the more reasonable posters on this site.”

  2. It’s good to see Edu back. I don’t know whether he will be up to his pre-Stoke level (he had an awfully long injury lay-off, mixed in with time on the bench), But at his best, he was mobile and fairly solid defensively. The one issue with him is that he’s turnover prone if he tries to dribble or pass in traffic, but in terms of covering the middle of the field defensively and outlet passing to more attack-minded players, he was one of the better midfielders in our pool until he went down. As an added bonus, he has World Cup experience (and should have had a World Cup goal too), something that most of his competition (Mix, Beckerman, and even Jones) do not. He’ll certainly add to the competition for the back-up CM slots and he’s the one player at that position who I would feel fully comfortable slotting in should Jones go down for any reason.

  3. Were he not needed so badly at RB I liked how Cameron played at defensive mid. During the Gold Cup his awareness and distribution were fantastic…then again Gold Cup opponents are not World Cup opponents either!

  4. Im beginning to not believe much JK says. He goes on and on about form and then ties to to Edu. How is DC doing by the way? Meanwhile, Benny and Parkhurst are both performing very, very well and one gets snubbed while the other gets no mention.

    Its all about jk diealing the warm fuzzies to justify his picks. I don’t think Edu should go…period. I also think Mexico will be on an mission to embarass us and they just might

    • Im beginning to not believe much JK says. He goes on and on about form and then ties to to Edu. How is DC doing by the way?


      Before you start attacking Klinsmann’s integrity, you should probably figure out which team Edu actually plays for. Hint: It isn’t DC United.

      • The problem with these types is they don’t read, and they don’t bother to research. They don’t need to. They know EVERYTHING!

    • OK scrap the DC part and substitute Philly. Not sure what I was think about when I wrote that. Getting by that… Edu was touted as not being worth the money he got and his team PHILLY is not doing too much so far.

      The point here is more about why does JK singles out Edu for his play while ignoring Benny who is playing very, very well for a better team and no mention of Parkhurst who is making a major contribution in making the Crew a team that’s is hard to score on.

      I think its JK himself that causes people to question his integrity when he props up under preforming players with dubious evaluations of their performance (Dempsey, Altadore, Shea, to some degree), calls players in that have failed on multiple attempts (Evans, Beasley, Sacha), and ignores Benny who he clearly doesn’t care for for some reason. I didnt like Bradley when he was coach because I didnt think he was taking us anyplace. I now fear that JK will also take not take us anyplace either but he will do so with a team filled with his pets

  5. Even for experienced professionals, the World Cup is always a notch up. Not only are the best players in the world stepping up their games, the nerves, excitement level, and press/fan scrutiny are greatly amplified. That’s why I’d prefer a close to in-form Edu as our third option in the center. He’s been there before and performed. Not as convinced about Williams, or Cameron being pushed back to the middle of the park at this point. Beckerman has always shown composure, but still hoping Edu is our third option.

  6. I love usmnt with all my heart and will cheer for whomever puts on the uniform, but a small cynical piece of my soul just wants to say two tears in a bucket, lets prepare for 2018.
    yedlin cameron besler johnson

    With of course some solid bench options.
    howard corona gil donovan altidore jones zusi gonzalez dempsey chandler beasley with either adu or wynne. Laugh all you want, 10 minutes left and you need a goal, put wynne on the last defender and boot some route 1.

  7. I like Edu individually. I think he is a high Championship low Premeirship team quality. However, the US has plenty of players that can’t hold the ball, they don’t need another one. We’ve been willing to concede possession all to often for players that are athletic, have good endurance and other qualities. The reason Portuguese teams do so well in Europe, even though their budgets are much lower is because they have technically skilled players that can hold possession. They often beat English teams with 3 or 4 times their budgets because of skill. You can see Brazilian teams do well against their European counterparts in World Club Competitions on a fraction of the budgets. Possession is important and we need to create a better balance.

      • Castillo Diskerud Bedoya

        Options off the bench: Jones, Feilhaber, Williams, Corona, Zusi and Torres.

        I would Bradley play as a pure defensive midfielder similar to what he did at Roma. He must stay back. That way we could play a true playmaker in front of him.

        I also would never use Edu, Klesjtan and Shea would never start a game(he’s fine off the bench). Beckerman is fine but I wouldn’t start him with Bradley, only use him when Bradley is unavailable.

      • I also agree with you that we are limited in our number of players who can hold the ball, are quick with their feet etc…
        To deploy just a true 6 as you describe you must have two elements
        – A totally solid back line, CBs who are top notch
        – outside backs that can defend well and support the play with crisp one touch passing who can use both feet
        We don’t have that.. at least not enough for the group we’re in

      • “Castillo Diskerud Bedoya

        That midfield would get run over by the other teams in the Death Group.
        Those teams are European in character and will play power football and push your four around, or more likely, just blow by them.
        If you think the Portuguese national team are not physical you should take another look at them now and at their history.
        C Ronaldo is not just skilled, he’s a beast, and guys literally bounce off him if they can even get close.

    • While I agree with you generally, there are numerous cases where the team playing “ugly” beats the team playing beautiful possession football. In addition to recent Champions League examples, a couple of years ago when the South American championship was up for grabs, Argentina came into the final playing Barcelona style football and blowing everybody out. They met a Brazilian team that was playing very un-Brazil like, playing more like Chelsea did against Barcelona. Brazil would win 1-0 while Argentina would win 3 or 4-1 or something similar. In the final Brazil totally shut down Argentina and won the cup. A tough physical style can triumph over possession football, even when the physical team isn’t as skilled. I prefer the possession style, but that doesn’t change the facts.

      • Very good point, Gary. You have to go with the style that may give you and edge and there’s no way we have the talent to compete with Portugal and Germany in a possession-based game. We may in another couple of cycles, but not this time.

      • I’m not saying we need to beat Germany or Portugal with possession. Keep our strong defense and goalie. We’re tough to score against. However, unless a player gives you skill he must be very superior at other things(ex. Dempsey=goals). If its a close call, go with the more skilled player. The way we played against Ukraine was an embarrassment.

      • So, I’m looking at the midfield you listed above and I don’t see Donovan. I assume this is a 4-4-2 with Bradley as the holder? This midfield gets run over against Ghana and Germany. Castillo was one of the primary reasons the Ukraine game was such an embarrassment (I know he wasn’t playing mid in that game).

      • I would NOT play Castillo at LB, only at LM. I’ve stated that repeatedly for the past two years. I would most likely play Donovan up front.

      • Vic’s actually on to something with Castillo in the midfield. He looked excellent going FORWARD against Ukraine, but also totally forgot to defend, which was his #1 job.

        That said, he showed great ability to get out of pressure even when double teamed.

        Too bad JK has played him in midfield all of a single half of one match sometime last year (or maybe 2012), so now we don’t have nearly enough evidence or time to give him another shot.

      • Mr. Page,

        Re Portugal, if the US can play that great team game, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts business, then they have a chance.
        C Ronaldo is from another planet but that can sometimes work to Portugal’s detriment. Some games the Portuguese wait around for C Ronaldo to turn it on and save them which then makes it 4 or 5 on 1 and even C Ronaldo can’t do everything all the time.

        And Brazil being what it is we can expect that the C Ronaldo entourage circus will be in full flight and will hopefully be a monster distraction.

        This has always been an issue with Cristiano, one of my favorite players. An older article from 2012 alluded to this:

  8. It never ceases to amaze me how some people here, who profess no little knowledge about soccer by the way, in fact, they so strongly state their opinions as fact it appears they may even believe it is only them that know soccer.

    Like their saying: “…and another who is 4th division star in Germany.” for instance. Or, if he was any good Pep would be starting him on the first team. He only chose the U.S. because he had no chance with the German team, and on and on.

    • Agreed, although I’m sure I’ve stated my opinion as fact in the past plenty 😉

      Still, saying “4th division star” is disingenuous at best, since most of the reserve teams play in the 4th division and some of those players are likely better than many in the 2nd division, even if they’re raw.

      • Plus they completely ignore the fact that Bayern were going to loan him to Hamburg, Hamburg really wanted him, he would have been a season-long starter for them and in pre-season first-team training Pep Guardiola nixed the loan.

      • Even calling it the 4th division in the Bundesliga is wrong. It is not the Bundesliga, it is the Regionalliga. It is the German pro league where the second teams of all Bundesliga I and II clubs play.

  9. I have always been high on Edu and seen him historically as a Geoff Cameron type guy that can play several positions in a pinch and the world not come to an end. I say historically because he does not have the recent body of work, but if he can get back to that level I would like him as a back up to Jones and CB in yellow card/injury situation. No matter what hope to see him play well.

    He was robbed in 2010!

    • He was a mainstay at Rangers and played fairly often in the CL. He seemed to play regularly with his Turkish side when on loan last year, so I’ve been surprised that he never got a chance with Stoke, even though they rarely seem to change their midfielders. Glad to see him get some minutes with the Union and get a shot with the US team. I think he can still be a help in the World Cup if he regains his previous form.

    • Why do you say that? We’ve got one of our first choice central midfielders and will have Donovan in the playmaker role. Plus, Zusi and Davis are known for their excellent service.

      • Green is quick and fast, scary quick and fast. With the USMNT in a 4-2-3-1 it would be better he be one of the 3. I believe left wing, the same position Franck Ribery plays.

    • Wing is his original position. He was moved inside and started scoring like crazy. Recently he has been moved back outside. His goals have dropped but his assists have climbed.

  10. Concerning the play of Johannsson, we will know more come next Thursday when AZ hosts Benfica in Europa league. AZ beat Anji on aggregate 1-0 to move on and Benfica are a much side.

  11. Assuming we take more reserves to Brazil (with Cameron also giving us some flexibility) after MB and JJ, pick two of the following:

    Mix, Beckerman, Mo, Benny, Sacha, Torres

    I’m a huge Benny apologist, but the reality is he doesn’t give us enough of a physical/defensive presence to justify being on the field, and he’s not suited to the wing or the attaching midfield role. And Torres is like Benny, only worse.

    So I think it comes down to Beckerman vs Mo for a pure holding role, and Mix vs Sacha for someone with a bit more possession and attacking ability.

    I’d take Mo and Mix, just because I think each offers more upside than Beckerman or Sacha, but it’s just an opinion. And Beckerman is a pure giver, so there’s that.

      • Williams looked very solid in his ~20 minutes against Ukraine. Granted, that’s not a huge sample size.

        Honestly, the only time we’ve gotten to see him against high quality opposition was Russia, and a very unfortunate place kick mistake early on in the match (that led to Russia’s first goal) sapped his confidence and really hurt his performance.

        Hopefully Klinsmann’s had someone scouting Williams well at Reading, so that he and Mo can duke it out for that final spot in the May camp.

    • Actually, Benny is perfectly suited to the attacking midfield role. That is probably the only role he is suited for. JK appears to prefer Dempsey and Donovan in that role over Benny.

      • I think the argument is that JK wants someone who can defend tough first, then have attacking qualities second.

        That said, I saw somewhere that Benny was leading SKC in successful tackles so far this season.

      • I generally agree with you, but I don’t think Dempsey’s exactly the hardest worker on defense in that position. I just think he feels that Dempsey brings more to the table all around.

    • “I’m a huge Benny apologist, but the reality is he doesn’t give us enough of a physical/defensive presence to justify being on the field, and he’s not suited to the wing or the attaching midfield role. And Torres is like Benny, only worse”

      That is exactly the role Benny played rather well in South Africa.

  12. For JK to bring up Edu with such an emphasis leads me to believe that he wants to bring 4 pure holding mids to Brazil. MB, JJ, Beckerman, and a 4th.
    Sasha seems to have blown his shot.
    Mix is a tweener, better further up the field.
    Danny still in the conversation.
    I think he’s hoping Edu is ready….
    Considering our group & his commitment to a 4-2-3-1, I think he wants 4 pure holding mids

    • Bac, i think you’re right, but i don’t consider MB a true holding mid. I think he’s got a ton of freedom (and the fitness and ability to do it) to move up field and attack..a lot.

      The other’s on your list, i agree are holding mids. Generally, stay put in front of the back four.

      Maybe it just comes down to our respective definitions of “holding mids”.

      • I think Bradley will play the role of holding mid against the strong teams we face in the WC. In the opening round, it is important to defend very well, and that means the US will have 6 field players dedicated to defense (the back 4 and 2 central mids) and 2 more (the outside mids) helping out most of the time.

        For that to work out so the US can score a goal or two, it means those players will have to get forward some of the time, but they must be very careful about committing to the attack too frequently and for too long or the defensive part will suffer too much.

    • You bring up a good point. It makes sense based on the group that he would be looking to bring in four strong holding and/or box-to-box mids as the CMs. Mix would get overrun in midfield against Ghana for sure and probably Germany as well. The CAM will be Dempsey or Donovan.

      • Ok GW, I’ll do my best to elaborate and try and make my point better.
        Start with the premise that we’ll be in the 4-2-3-1, and sometimes move into a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, or however one wants to define it.
        We all know that teams start in a given lineup yet deploy their players differently…so in this case I’m talking about the 2 CM spots.
        Sometimes one goes forward a little more than the other, sometimes one plays like a true six. I know you know what I’m saying.
        If you have one that gets forward a lot you need 2 things, a strong defensive partner and a great backline.
        I don’t think we have a great backline. I don’t think JK thinks we do either. So considering our group, I think he’s set on bringing 4 guys for those 2 holding roles, MB & JJ as starters, Beckerman, and I think he wants a 4th.
        I think that’s why he’s looking at Edu so much even though the guy hasn’t played in a year.
        I think he will want to be deep at those spots, both for practice and for substitutes.
        I don’t think he trusts our backline. Not against this group.
        I also think that’s why Sasha won’t make it, Benny wasn’t called in, JFT wasn’t called in.. I think he’s thinking about guys that will protect that backline… no tweeners. But if he doesn’t think Edu or Williams is sharp, maybe he doesn’t.. .
        And I still think he may bring 7 defenders instead of 8 because of the versatility, freeing up an additional mid spot.
        So my definition was more in the context of JKs selections than anything else. Hope that makes more sense what I was trying to get across.

      • Bac,

        I agree with you that JK is heavily influenced by his shaky backline. Which is why I would drop Gonzo or maybe even Besler.

        Where I think we are different is I think you tend to pigeon hole players in these specialist categories.

        I think a player has no business on a national team of he is not fundamentally sound in almost all aspects of the game.
        I don’t think asking a high level professional midfielder to play left back is a big deal especially for the short term that a tournament requires. And I think that because I have seen it done well too many times for me to think otherwise.

        Good soccer players are by definition versatile and should be ready to go from defense to offense instantaneously. Even a keeper has to be thinking offense the second he gets the ball. Louis Van Gaal often says you are on offense the second your keeper controls the ball.

        A lot of people on SBI think defense is about being big, strong, fast, more physically fit than the other guy ; you know having “recovery speed” so you can make up for your mistake.

        It seems to me whipping boy left back, Bornstein, a very fast guy, proved that not making the mistake in the first place is a better idea. Ghana, Germany and Portugal, are arguably equal if not superior to the US in terms of running big, strong fast, athletic players out there. So it will come down to the US playing disciplined,tough, team defense.

        In such circumstances being a so called protoypical defensive player is less vital than whether the player has the discipline to play their role in the USMNT’s scheme. And don’t forget that keeping possession as much as possible is a big part of that at least in JK’s world.

        The World Cup is a short term deal, seven games at most. So, for example, Benny, never known for his defense, did very well in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup with his defensive responsibilities. He was good at impersonating a defensive player on a short term basis.

        With all this in mind , here is my list of possible outfield players:

        Defense: Fabian, Cameron, Besler, DMB, Gooch, Edu, Parkhurst,
        Midfield: Mikey, Jones, Donovan, Dempsey, Beckerman, Williams, Benny, Green, Zusi, Bedoya
        Forward: Jozy, AJ, EJ

        The way I see it, everyone defends and then they set up AJ and/or Green ( if he proves something in the coming weeks) to score.

      • GW, I don’t disagree with a word you said, not one bit. And your points went beyond the scope of what I was trying to get across in terms of his midfield selection. I agree with what you’re saying of course, and you give a few good examples.
        My prediction is based off what I think JK will do, not what I would do, or what I would like to see. I’ll go further and give you an example of my own I was thinking about when I responded to you.
        Example 1: Game vs Ghana gets late and JJ is either on a yellow or tired out and we are do or die to protect a one goal lead… Do you sub in Beckerman who is solid, but slower against a much faster team? Or have the option of Edu? In that example would you want Mix to come in? No.
        You see I’m just predicting what I think he’s thinking, where me personally.. I’d be comfortable with a box to box guy like Benny whose game looks good to me right now… but I’m not JK
        Example 2. Similar situation vs Portugal, not as big and brutish and fast.. more technically sound, maybe he wants Beckerman as an option in his back pocket.
        Or game 3 when someone is out with a card..

        I know what they’re expected to do, I’m just predicting what I think he’s gonna do based off some of his call ups, some of his ommissions, and a few of his comments.
        Like I was trying to explain when I said in the context of the conversation and in terms of how I see JK making his selections.
        I don’t pigeon hole these players, or their roles, in fact I’ve written on here about how I understood why JK played guys out of their natural position and pushed people out of their comfort zones.. and how I thought it benefits us in the long run.
        I agree with your statement that at this level in a short tournament you would expect to have that quality and versatility to switch on a dime and be a two way player… but… at those spots…behind Mikey, and depending on which JJ shows up… I don’t think he thinks we have a solid 3rd go to guy.. which is why I wrote what I did.
        I think we’re more or less on the same page.. and for what it’s worth I like your 23… but like I said, Im guessing what he will do.. I haven’t given a 23, but I bet mine would be closer to yours than JKs-and like you, I’m predicting only 7 in the back.. except for Gooch, I’d prob go Gonzo or Orozco

    • I don’t think he’s dead set on taking four. There’s a chance edu is competing with beckerman (and dwilliams) for the final holding mid spot. This camp is a chance to see them side by side.

      I’m wondering, what’s the scenario where we would need both beckerman AND edu available? Keep in mind he’ll also have cameron who can deputize there.

  13. “‘I need to be in pole position and here and I need to impress in those games with my club,’ and the only way you can impress is if you play from the beginning on,” said Klinsmann.”

    This is the rule he’s laying down for the youth in this camp, For 2018. In the past USMNT coaches had their squads penciled out in advance.. Klinsy is establishing a system where no matter your status with the press or your twitter feed friend count you will be earning it.

    • huh? what the heck?

      please provide the evidence of the squad being penciled in advance by US coaches based on status with the press or your twitter feed

      • uuuuuuuuuuuuhh, I believe milbo just used something one might call “a figure of speech”. You know, something not to be taken literally.

  14. I like the roster, and I would like to see a midfield pairing of Bradley and Edu, just to see how it goes. I do wish Feilhaber had been included, but, I am not particularly displeased that he was left off, and am more excited about Gil anyway. The big downside, which is out of everyone’s control, is that the Xolos crew is unavailable; really wanted to see both Garza and Corona in this friendly. Oh well. However, Tijuana is loaded with guys that pique my interest for next cycle: Garza, Corona, Guido, and Arriola all seem to have a lot of potential (didn’t mention Castillo because he is basically a know quantity at this point).

    • Living in southern San Diego County, I get to see most of the Xolos games…and some in person. I can tell you, Garza is NOT…let me repeat…Garza is NOT international material. He is generally the weakest link on the pitch when he plays for the Xolos. The only real attribute he has is the ability to go left with his left foot. Don’t ask him to display pace. Don’t ask him to cut right. Passing ability on a cross? Meh

  15. I’m becoming less optimistic about US chances by the day-definitely since the draw happened….

    4 points seems like a dream right now-I see the current roster scrappig together for 1-2 points before a German team looking to show up their former coach really unloads in game three

    Jozy’s Sunderland adventure has been a horror show-even as a big fan of his, I can admit that
    Dempsey is a shell of his former self, he is nowhere the player he was two years ago, or four years ago. Now his game relies mostly on falling down 25 yards square in front of the goal and raising his hands in hopes of a foul, instead of scrambling to poach goals in the box
    Donovan has also regressed from his peak, but no one has stepped to effectively challenge his starting spot-he’s still a key starter
    the Right Back situation has not gotten better as a whole with Dolo definitely out, Chandler most likely out and Cameron really the only option that won’t make me barf ahead of the Portugal/Germany games
    Centerbacks-oy vey! Gonzo and Besler are locks not because of their international pedigree or lights out performances-there is literally no one even close to challenging them on current form-Brooks hadn’t come along fast enough, Cameron too busy pluggin a hole at RB
    Center Mids- no change, Bradley is the MVP of the squad, no one has challenged Jones
    Wings- our pure winger options are Bedoya-who is yet to put a stamp on any international game I’ve seen ex CONCACAF 3rd tier, and one guy sent back by a 2nd division English club and another who is 4th division star in Germany

    AJ is literally the only player who now offers more promise of a positive contribution than he did 6-12 months ago….

    how does this team get points vs Portugal and/or Germany again?

    • I don’t get the hype for Johannson. In my eyes, he has had only a few good moments in a US shirt, but otherwise has been mediocre, albeit generally with a good first touch. Against Ukraine I thought he was bad. Zusi is much better I think, and so is an in-form, as in Gold Cup, Joe Corona.

      • Johannsson is a striker,(who came on and probably had the best chance against Ukraine, volleying a cross that was cleared off the line) why are you comparing him to Zusi or Corona?

      • but he really has not played as a striker for the USMNT, but as an attacking midfielder. that is why I was making the comparison.

      • I expect AJ to do very well once he’s had some significant time working with Donovan. No one else on the roster comes close to creating the number of goal-scoring opportunities that Donovan creates. Even Wondo look good playing alongside Donovan.

      • Yes. Sometimes I think I’m the only person that still thinks Donovan is the best attacking player on the team. His assist total is higher than every other player that will start against Ghana combined. Thank you.

      • Joe Corona? Please… he is on the bubble if we take 50 players to Brazil. He looked bad in the Gold Cup, seriously very very bad. He had two wide open opportunities where he hit nice strikes from the top of the box, but he never combined on any passing routines, he never created an opportunity for himself or another player, and he never dribbled the ball around a guy to create a dangerous situation. He just was not good!

    • Sorry, but the 2010 team wasn’t lighting any fires either with our best striker (Davies) getting injured and our best CB (Gooch) going down and barely back.

      The US thrives on advisory, we always have. I’ve come to think that Bradley’s tactic at the World Cup was to purposefully let a goal in literally every game around the 15 minute mark so that our players played to their potential.

      My major concern is Dempsey, who I fear Klinsi will play no matter what. If he had any other name, we wouldn’t even be considering him at this point. What makes matters worse is that he’s played in the hole which under Klinsi’s system is the most important position. Donovan isn’t lighting up anything in MLS, but he’s far more qualified at this point to play there. He’s faster, a better passer, and more dangerous. The Gold Cup showed how well he can take over that position.

      Jozy is a big problem, too. But I honestly think that Aron is a player equal to Jozy, and slightly better because of his confidence. His weakness was holding the ball up, but recent pundits have pointed to an improvement in that area of the game.

      I think players like Aron and Mix are exciting. Agudelo has unfortunately not stepped up, but he’s still in the mix. If you can count on one thing it’s that Klinsi won’t play it safe which gives me hope.

      Every game means something to this team; each opponent brings its own kind of desire to win outside of simply winning: Germany is obvious, Ghana and our history, and Portugal with Ronaldo who everyone will want to stop.

      I’m more pumped for this team and our group than South Africa.

      • It was. It was also boring outside of England. The World Cup is about playing the best.

        Our group now is the best.

      • We barely made it out of that group. It took 2 comebacks and an amazing stoppage time moment against Algeria. We didn’t “arrive” in South Africa, we survived.
        Surviving in Brazil will be much much harder. I want to see attractive soccer, that is the most important thing. Even more important than the results. As that will win audiences over. Audiences translate into more Americans loving the beautiful game. More American’s who love soccer means more talented kids choosing the sport.

      • JD,

        Americans look down their nose at losers..

        If the idea is to win over the casual fan, they will pay far more attention if the US advances regardless of how ugly the wins are.

        As a connoisseur you might turn up your nose at ugly US wins but I’ve watched many US World Cup games in bars full of casual or even non soccer fans and I can promise you the nuances of the game were not a big deal. Winning or tying was.

        The other thing is, it’s not just up to the US. It takes two to tango, Ghana, Germany and Portugal don’t care if they get two goalless draws and one win from an own goal in the last minute of a dour game, they came to Brazil to advance.

        The group stages rarely produce scintillating soccer for that reason.

      • I don’t disagree but the absolute worst thing for Us soccer is to go out and 3-0 playing ugly soccer. Americans will appreciate and enjoy a 3-2 attractive soccer match at least. I’m afraid if we bunker in we will lose double. If we go for a prettier style win or lose the sport will look more attractive. Winning is still important to most Americans though, and me too.

    • Valid concerns, especially the defense. Besler and Gonzo haven’t exactly been playing lights out in MLS so far this season, so let’s hope they get better by June.

      On the whole though, you just have to expect the worst but hope for the best. When you are pleasantly surprised (such as v. Portugal in 02, v. Columbia in 94, v. Algeria in 10), it makes it all the more enjoyable. When it goes bad (France 98, Germany 06), you’re not as crushed as you would be if you were expecting more, and you can still some good from the bad (tying Italy in 06…was there anything good to come out of France 98? McBride’s goal?).

      • Why do you think Besler/ Gonzo will suddenly get better in June?

        More time to build up cohesion? The Gooch/Demerit combo that shut down Spain in 2009 had only a couple of games together before that game.

        What you see is what you will probably get..

    • There are a couple of things going for the US. European teams usually don’t do as well as expected outside of Europe and playing in a tropical clime won’t help them. The US has more experience playing in those conditions. The heat and humidity in the Amazonian region could slow down Ronaldo. Secondly, outside of Neuer we will have the best GK in the group. Howard may make the difference in one or even two games. Third, I think Klinsmann’s WC experience will help. I think he is the best US coach ever. He certainly brings more international and World Cup experience than any former US coach, when considering both his playing and coaching career. All the teams in our group have a lot of experience and we match up well in that area as the core of the team–Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan, Altidore, and Howard have all played in the last World Cup. If we make it through the group and then face Belgium, that could be a difference maker. While it will be difficult, I agree with Nate Silver that our chances of going through are close to that of Portugal.

    • Doom and gloom.
      Has the U.S. ever had it any other way in the World Cup?
      Frankly I think this group of players is as good or better than we have had in my lifetime – and I have been around quite a while.
      I have no idea whatsoever why people on this site come down so hard on players like Gonzalez or Besler or Zusi, perhaps a bias against Americans not playing out-of-country. Either way, I expect all three of them to start and to acquit themselves well in the World Cup.
      Is the U.S. going to get 9 points out of a World Cup group. No. It has never been that way. It may never be that way. But US Soccer continues to be on the rise.

      • Like the poster said above, it is easier to point out what is wrong and lower your expectations. Gonzo, Besler and Zusi all do have something to prove. No one here says those players “have no talent”. The stiffest test they’ve ever had is playing Mexico twice. There is a lot left to prove.

      • “I have no idea whatsoever why people on this site come down so hard on players like Gonzalez or Besler”

        Because they need to play better if the US is to advance. I don’t care if they are real Americans, fake Americans or Martians with stolen US passports, it’s a bad idea to NOT criticise our boys if they are not producing.

        How do you expect US soccer to get better if we follow your rules of criticism?.

      • I hardly think criticism on this site is going to have any impact on US soccer getting better, but the I will sit in my lucky seat during all the games just in case …

    • So I watched the highlights of the 2010 GHA-USA game last week. The biggest point I took away from that game was that our current team seems far better on paper than 2010. The 2010 team had 3 people who wouldn’t scratch a January camp these days: Bornstein, Clark, Robbie Findley. I cringe even thinking about them out there now — but that’s what we were dealing with 4 years ago.

      The second biggest takeaway was that we made Ghana look better than they were. Yes, they’re strong, yes they’re fast, but they looked unorganized and undisciplined at several stages, which led to us getting more chances than we should have (we had NO finishers btw).

      Thinking to the present, Ghana have some strong, experienced players (Asamoah, Gyan, K P-B come to mind). But I don’t think they’re a better team than in 2010 (they also had the small advantage of being the lone remaining rep for Africa). I feel optimistic about getting 3 points from that game. the kind of optimism that a fan of a team in a group like this I think needs to have to not fall into a predisposed depression during June. From there, seeing a frustrated CRON and surprise and respect from Die Mannschaft is all I’m asking for. Round of 16 would be Christmas.

      • +1 to this is in every way. Everyone was screaming at Bradley when he started Clark over Edu, and it just looks worse now. The 2010 team was significantly worse at every position, with the exception of a better version of Landon, Cherundolo, and an equal version of Howard

      • and a better version of Dempsey and a better, more experienced CB pairing…. but yeah, aside from most the team things look better and aside from playing 3 teams in the groups all of whom are better than the three teams in the group we played last time, things are totally great

      • That is the nature of sports. It is a young mans game. You always have aging talent on the decline, and young talent on the rise. Our defense is probably more suspect now, and a few of our stars up top are older. I think we are nearly the same team as in 2010. We do have stiffer competition. This is the last hurrah of two of the best US field players ever in Dempsey and Donovan. We will hope to see them both inform.

      • You’re reasoning is extremely flawed here.

        1. Bornstein was performing very well in MLS at the time of his inclusion and was arguably the best US defender at the 2010 WC. It was only after an ill advised move to Mexico where he stopped getting PT that he deteriorated.

        2. Clark was starting and playing a high level in the Bundesliga before getting injured. He had just recovered from the injury and hadn’t been getting PT at his club as a result. He honestly shouldn’t have been started ahead of Edu, much less brought to the WC. His problem was form, not ability. There’s a lot of ignorance on this subject and it’s very frustrating to see time and time again because the farther we get from the 2010 WC, the less likely it is to have people knowing what they’re talking about. The only reason that Clark “wouldn’t sniff a January camp” now is his age and the fact he’s semi-injury prone.

        3. Findley was an attempt from a VERY limited forward pool to capitalize on one of the qualities that made Charlie Davies successful–speed. I (and many others) would have played Gomez over Findley, and even brought Ching to the WC instead of Findley. But there WAS logic behind bringing him.

        Sorry to go on a rant, but the above needed to be said. Still, let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

      • Is that you Bob Bradley? I have to disagree. I don’t think those of us who dislike Bornstein and Clark are “misinformed”. We knew that Edu should have started he was playing better. Clark had no business being on the field that day. There is a reason no one wanted Clark out there, that is because he had been playing quite badly for the previous several months. He was never a world on fire kind of guy. He hustled and was typically competent defensively. He was not good on the ball, and always made too many turnovers.

        Bornstein was a blunder waiting to happen for his entire national team career. He managed to avoid the disastrous in 2010. He was only a starter due to a complete lack of options. Very similar to Beasley at LB and Evans at RB today. There were no good LB’s available in 2010 either but he is not nor was he ever a player talented enough for the role he was thrown into.

      • Jesse D.

        Jony B was not great but the criticism of him is overblown.

        There had to be a reason he was such a regular player from about 2008 until the end of 2010.

        Care to guess what the USMNT’s record was when Bornstein appeared with them during that period?

        15 wins, 10 losses and 1 draw.

        In non- friendlies, i.e competitive matches such as WC qualifiying, World Cup, Gold Cup, Confed Cup and so on the record is:

        8 wins, 6 losses and 1 draw.

        It seems BB was very results oriented.

      • That is great. But their record with him is irrelevant. That was other guys picking up the slack. Take the Miami heat and look at their record with bench warmer x on the bench…. While it is a good record. Not because of the bench warmer though.
        Bornstein was our best option a number of times, that never made him a good option.

      • Jesse,

        I get that you refuse to give Bornstein any credit whatsoever. Extremism is quite typical here..

        However, I never said that Bornstein was the reason the USMNT had a winning record during his time; what I did say was that the fact that they did that well, over a period of time, tells me that he performed well enough to keep being included.

        Your comparisons are flawed.

        The Heat bemch warmer did not play the majority of the game or possibly did not play at all (“on the bench”)

        In the 36 games I cited Bornstein played significant minutes in all of them,

        As for the other guys “picking up the slack” ,so what? Good teammates are always picking up the slack for their teammates since everyone has flaws. It is not as if the USMNT was playing the equivalent of a man down every time JB was there. Over 36 games the equivalent of an entire season. these things even out.

        Whatever good points JB had they were good enough that the team did well over that span.

  16. Sounds like Edu may get plenty of minutes alongside MB on Wednesday. I know his touch and passing are horrible. But nobody plays on ball defense in the midfield as good as Mo. He is fast, strong and intense. I love how he closes down guys, and forces lateral movement.

    Now if he could just pass to someone on his team, well that would be wonderful. I think he is a great option to come on late if we are trying to hold a lead.

    • When Edu is in (his) top form, he can definitely be an asset to the team. The big question now is whether he still has his stuff after very little game time the past year. Will be interesting to see how he does against Mexico.

      • I don’t know, even when he’s in “top” form he always makes that one turnover pass that screws us. Just don’t see him being a big help. Not sure who I’d see in place of him thought either…

      • lol. yeah, Klinsmann’s experiment with Edu as attacking midfielder ranks as one of the best, along with Danny Williams on the right wing and Jose Torres at left back. I am a fan of Edu as a purely defensive deep-lying Number Six. And, who knows, maybe Edu could cover as central defender in an emergency. He did that once. Can’t remember which game.

      • biff,

        “Klinsmann’s experiment with Edu as attacking midfielder ranks as one of the best”

        If you watched Mo at Maryland, TFC and Rangers I don’t know where he was nominally listed but he was known for being an all action, box to box midfielder with a habit of scoring goals. It is why he was considered MB90’s competition for his USMNT role until Mo had a series of injuries in late 2008-9 .
        Using Mo as a nominal attacking midfielder is hardly a stretch.

        I suspect JK may well be interested in him as a center half which is where he spent the 2008 Olympic games as the captain of the team. It is also where he successfuly teamed with Cameron for the famou 1-0 win at Azteca.

        “Danny Williams on the right wing”

        People say that because he wore #7. Williams was on the right side of midfield in that Italy game but his real job was to keep the Italians from flooding and overrunning the midfield and to provide the shaky US defense with an addtional outlet instead of having to boom a clearance upfield. Danny was quite good on the ball in that game. Those kind of long, booming clearances often come right back when you play Italy.

        That particular tactic worked rather well as the US won 1-0.

        “Jose Torres at left back”

        I believe they won that game, though I think Torres left early injured. JFT played left back for Bradley so it wasn’t exactly strange and unfamiliar to him. JFT is hardly the most unexpected US player to play left back. Gooch had a run of games at left back when on loan at Twente in Holland.

      • The game was in August of 2012 at Azteca,

        USA : 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 23-Fabian Johnson, 20-Geoff Cameron, 7-Maurice Edu, 15-Edgar Castillo (4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 77); 13-Jermaine Jones (14-Joe Corona, 89), 5-Kyle Beckerman, 6-Danny Williams (8-Graham Zusi, 60), 16-Jose Torres (18-Terrence Boyd, 45); 10-Landon Donovan (17-Damarcus Beasley, 45), 9-Herculez Gomez (11-Brek Shea, 78) Subs not used: 3-Matt Besler, 19-Chris Wondolowski, 22-Nick Rimando Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann –

      • Personally, as a backup to JJones, I prefer a fit and in form Edu to Beckerman, who, I think is the main competition for Edu.

      • A year ago I would have agreed with you. However, Beckerman has shown consistency and improvement with the Nats in that time. While Mo has superior athleticism and doesn’t lag Beckerman in a lot of other areas, he’s very hot and cold.

      • but you dont need consistency for a backup role, you’ll want someone you can perform at the level required, which we know Edu can do based on 2010.

      • Turnover passes from Edu? Not sure what your referring to. Maybe you’re confusing him with Rico Clark who did that against Ghana in 2010. Edu’s problem was pace, but not ever his passing ability. Prefer an in form edu to becks tho

      • Edu’s problem was pace? He’s very agile and pretty quick. He’s not going to be blazing down the wings around anyone’s FBs, but he’s never been a player who had problems with pace.

      • Most of our team makes several turnover passes though, so I’m not sure that puts Edu behind anyone else.

      • I will clarify my Edu comment, which was not in anyway meant to disparage Jermaine Jones, who I think when in top form is the best midfielder in the US player pool, including being better than Bradley. But if JJ-y fails to regain his form in Turkey or otherwise is not able to start in Brazil, then I see Edu as a possible — repeat, possible — replacement for Jones. My hope is that JJ is fired up and in beast mode. If he is, then our chances of a result against Portugal and Germany are greatly increased.

      • Better than Bradley? In terms of the highest level of team he played on perhaps. But that’s the only way he’s better. Currently MB is far far more important to the US.

      • Biff you’re one of the more reasonable posters on this site, but Jones better then Bradley? No way man.

      • There is no comparison defensively. When Jones is at his best he is much better defensively than MB. I do think MB after his time in Italy is generally better on the ball and at avoiding turnovers and has a better touch than Jones, but Jones has the ability to make the killer pass out of the back and is a bigger threat to score going forward. That said, neither Bradley nor Jones are among our best attacking options and IMO only one of them should be on the field at the same time.

      • Wait, you think Jones is a bigger threat to score than Bradley? Bradley’s scored more against Mexico than Jones has in his US career. If anything, the issue with a JJ-MB pairing is that Jones’s forays forward make Bradley stay back too much.

      • Unfortunately, like many from his generation, he peaked far earlier than we expected. He hasn’t improved an ounce since his second season at Rangers.

    • Not sure I understand that not-so-thinly veiled snipe at Jones.

      Jones is a defensive midfielder. His job is to be physical, disrupt attacks and be a nuisance. Yellow cards come with the territory.

      Just be glad he isn’t like the best DMs in the world–Xabi Alonso and Pepe who accumulate red cards like they’re pez.

      • I totally agree that we want Jones to be physical, but look back at some of his cards for USMNT and you will see that they are sometimes reckless, unnecessary, and untimely. I can say, with confidence, that he will rack up two cards in the first three games, which is why we’ll need a back up. That is where Edu comes in. Certainly a different player than Jones, but a serviceable back up. That said, our midfield is not very deep, can you see us doing well with Edu and Beckerman? With those guys in we are playing for ties, at best.

      • As I look back at his red cards in qualifying games, there was only a few. And they were tactically wonderful, covering for turnovers in midfield.

        I think because he plays very very hard, and gets his share of yellows, that people consider him a risk. But when has he put the US in hole by getting a yellow or red? Not in any games that were important that I can remember.

      • The fact is, like Bradley, Jones has lost most of that rough edge people still associate with him. He’ll pick up cards, but any physical CM/DM worth his weight will do that.

        Will he pick up cards like candy in a World Cup setting? No one knows because he hasn’t been there. All we know is that he hasn’t done that in the Champions League.

        Jones is a smart guy. Especially with a shot at upsetting Germany, he’ll perform in June.

    • I see Edu as a more disciplined but less technical player than Jones. They are both athletic, physical players who read the game well.

      • I think a very fair comparison. Edu also has a knack for being an opportunist in front of goal. When the situation calls for it, you will find him pouncing on a rebound in front of the net.

      • Edu pretty much scored that first goal for Philly two weeks ago in the opening game of the season. Can’t understand why people would say he isn’t good going forward. I prefer him and Jones in a midfield rather than Bradley + anyone. Bradley plays way too out of position for anyone to tolerate. It’s why he was always a squad player at Roma and never the incumbent. Two Champions League central midfielders starting is where it’s at.

      • Sorry, who do you want to pair with Kljestan? ‘Cause last I checked neither Besiktas nor Philly are in the Champions League…

    • He also scored one of the most historic goals in USMNT history.


      oh, wait….really?……oh, sorry, some African ref imagined there was a foul and waved it off. My bad.


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